Next years campaign will mark the London Blitz first steps into European competition.
The BAFL season in 2009 has now closed for another year, and the London Blitz regained their national crown with a 26-7 win over the Coventry Jets. The Blitz regain the championship they last won in 2007. Gareth Dauley's 65 yard run sealed the win, after earlier scores from Michael Casper and Martin Ray,
The Coventry Jets came up short in their attempt to repeat as National Champions falling 26-7 to old foe, the London Blitz. Mark Cohen had a monumental day in what was likely the final game of an illustrious career while on the other side of the ball Coventry’s defence managed to keep the Blitz’s offence under wraps for the most part even though they were consistently defending a short field.
London scored easily on their first possession and it looked like it was going to be a long day for the Jets' defence when Michael Casper made a good grab for an 18 yard touchdown and an early advantage. Nathan Holt missed the extra point wide left to leave the lead at 6-0. Stuart Franklin responded by picking the Blitz defence apart with strikes to Courtney Pope, Jeremy Simms and Mark Cohen with the later snaring a 9 yard touchdown. Dale Hawes showed how it should be done slotting his kick between the uprights to hand the Jets a 7-6 lead.
A bad punt handed London possession in scoring range but the Jets defence held firm and Holt made up for his earlier miss by sticking a 32 yard field goal. The Blitz ended the opening quarter with 9-7 lead but Coventry were driving deep into London's half. As the second period began the Jets were pushed back by a mammoth sack that took them nearer to the halfway line than the endzone.
Fred Boyle was starting to find his range and a 50 yard completion to Casper took the Blitz deep into Jet territory. Persistent penalties kept London from adding to the score as they took themselves out of scoring range. The Jets couldn't get anything going on the ground and it was clear that Franklin's arm was the only way that Coventry could move the football consistently. Clock management issues put paid to the chances of any further scoring in the first half.
Defences ruled the third quarter and Cedric Perrochaud’s 38 yard interception return stretched the Blitz lead to nine after Holt stuck on the extra point. London threatened again towards the end of the third but Boyle threw his second interception of the game, Wayne Gumbs was the recipient this time. Franklin couldn't take advantage of the gift from his former team and having bottled up Gareth Dauley for the first three quarters the Jets defence finally broke as the prolific running back bust a 68 yard touchdown run early in the fourth. Holt's kick put the Jets in a 16 point hole.
Injuries to Franklin and Kofi Campbell put paid to any lingering hopes of an unlikely comeback and Holt's 40 yard field goal iced the game with a scoreline of 26-7 in favour of the Blitz. A second title in three years underlines London’s credentials as one of the top clubs in Europe and gives the rebuilding Jets plenty to strive for over the next twelve months if they’re to regain their title.
It was a London double, as the London Cobras won the Division One championship with a 8-0 win over East Kilbride Pirates,
In Division Two, Leicester Falcons won a thrilling title with a 33-32 victory over the Colchester Gladiators.
September 26th& 27th saw the highlight of the British American Football season at BritBowl XXIII, held this year at Doncaster Rover’s Keepmoat Stadium under glorious sunny skies. Various levels of American football saw the finals of their respective tournaments and the whole event kicked off with the ‘junior kitted’ version of the game for 14 – 17 years olds. It was an event that saw Lanarkshire’s Clyde Valley Falcons already the Scottish champions retain the title they won in 2008 with crushing victories over high class opposition.
Junior Kitted American Football provides a 5 a-side full contact version of the game. Over recent months teams across the UK have been competing in their respective leagues for the right to reach the coveted finals. Set against a wonderful stadium atmosphere squads from Chorley, London, Glasgow and the Clyde Valley Falcons competed for the honour of winning the final.
In the first semi final, the Glasgow Tigers were narrowly knocked out by a big and strong London Warriors team who had gone through the season unbeaten. The second semi-final saw the Clyde Valley Falcons take on the Chorley Buccaneers.
After an early lead the Falcons found themselves trailing mid-way through the first half 12 – 6, but this was to prove to be the high point for the Buccaneers. The Falcons defensive line, key to the team’s success all season was simply too strong and the Falcons powered their way into an unassailable lead with Craig Samuel and Callum Woods both featuring strongly in a great team effort as the Falcons ran out 45-24 winners.
Having won the final in Grangemouth last year, the Falcons hoped that their experience would help in overcoming a strong team from London. As has been the case for the whole season, it was the Falcons defence that dominated the final. The pressure placed on the Warriors was simply too much and two quick interceptions by Craig Samuel following hurried throws by the Warriors quarterback saw the team open up a 13- 0 lead in the opening minutes; indeed the strength of the defence meant that by half time the Falcons were 20 – 0 to the good, with Ben Filmer dominating his opposite number despite giving away a significant height and weight advantage. Indeed such was his contribution that he scored just before half time and immediately straight after the re-start.
The Falcons defence continued to dominate and when Sean Fallon, ripped the ball away form the Warriors running back in open play, the Falcons scored yet again. In offence the team again were strong and with the Warriors struggling to come to terms with the onslaught, Craig Samuel was on the end of a fine throw from quarterback Alistair Sidey. With minutes to go the Warriors gained some reward for all their endeavours with a touchdown to make the score 32-6 – but it was too little too late and the Clyde Valley Falcons were crowned BAFL Junior Contact Champions to add to their Scottish title.
Coaches Gillespie and Farrell were clearly delighted with the performance as Farrell noted: “Winning last year was fantastic, but to retain the championship has been unbelievable; the whole squad has played their part and above all it is out teamwork that has seen us through and I include the tremendous support we have received from parents and friends throughout the season. Now a new team needs to start preparing to see if we can make it three in a row!”
ENDS 578 WORDS
The Coventry Cassidy Jets fired into the Britbowl final for a third straight year with a 28-14 semi-final victory over the Bristol Aztecs. Tony Perkins had the games biggest play, returning the opening kick off of the second half for 81 yards a touchdown that broke Bristol’s resistance. Once again the Jets will face the London Blitz for the National Title as they ran over the Farnham Fast Lane Knights 33-13.
Coventry opened the scoring on their second possession, Jeremy Simms making a tremendous catch over the middle for a 19 yard touchdown reception from Stuart Franklin. The play was set up by a hook and ladder play, Franklin’s pass was caught by Dale Hawes at the Bristol 24 before the diminutive receiver pitched the ball back to Dominic Olney who barrelled ahead for an extra five yards. Hawes attempted to add the extra point but his kick was blocked.
Bristol, who had managed only nine yards in the air, struck back late in the first half with a touchdown from Dominic Westwood to Nick Smith. The 38 yard pass was an embarrassment for the Jets’ defence as both Ahmed Hashim and Wayne Gumbs missed what looked to be simple tackles on the way to the endzone. Jon Wyse added the extra point to hand Bristol a 7-6 lead with half time looming.
Franklin completed a 38 yard pass of his own as Mark Cohen dragged tacklers down inside the Bristol redzone. The Aztecs brought a lot of pressure and held the Jets short of the endzone. When running out the clock would have been the logical choice, Bristol decided to go for the throat, Ted Baynham was brought in at quarterback to throw the deep ball. His first pass was wild and his second was picked off by Ahmed Hashim.
A 38 yard touchdown pass to Dominic Olney on the next play punished the Aztecs for their mistake. Kofi Campbell, making a welcome return, coasted in to the endzone to add a two point conversion ensuring that the Jets would enter the break with the lead at 14-7. As the second half began it was time for Tony Perkins to take centre stage, his 81 yard kick off return was a hammer blow for the Aztecs as they fell two scores behind Coventry’s stingy defence. Hawes booted the extra point for a 14 point advantage.
The remainder of the third quarter saw both teams cancel each other as Coventry’s offence began to sputter. The only drive of note ended with Wyse making a good play to take away a second touchdown from Simms. The Aztecs went back to what worked best in the final quarter, keeping the ball on the ground and letting Mike Adams churn up yardage. His tough running eventually set up another Westwood to Smith touchdown, this time from eight yards. Wyse kicked the extra point to pull Bristol within seven with six minutes remaining in the game.
In response Coventry mounted a 12 play drive, churning up the clock as Franklin directed his team 68 yards downfield completing two key passes to Courtney Pope before Campbell bulled in from three yards out. Hawes again kicked the extra point to restore the Jets 14 point advantage. Bristol’s last chance to respond was snuffed out as an Adam’s fumble was recovered by Liam Smith. The Jets now have three weeks to prepare for the final, which will be held in Doncaster’s Keepmoat Stadium.
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In snapping a two game losing streak the Coventry Cassidy Jets put together a commanding team effort to shutout the Sussex Thunder 40-0. Luke Smith made his first start at quarterback, almost three years after first signing on with the Jets, and ended with four touchdown passes to four different receivers. Free safety Steve George got Coventry off to a great start as he was able to stroll into the endzone on a six yard interception return and MVP Dominic Olney rounded out the scoring with a 19 yard touchdown run.
The Jets, missing several starters, found themselves 20-0 with less than 10 minutes on the clock. George’s interception return handed Coventry a six nil lead and set the tone for a dominant defensive outing as Sussex were held to negative yardage. It was another George interception that set up the Jets second score as the recent signing from the Peterboro’ Saxons took the ball deep into Thunder territory. Luke Smith hit Brett Rosenbaum from 12 yards out as both men notched up their first ever Jets touchdowns.
Once again without a kicker, Coventry used their extra point conversions to practice goal-line situations with little success. They soon found themselves with another opportunity though as Sussex’s very next play resulted in their third turnover, Frank Herlihy coming up with the fumble recovery that set Olney up for his 19 yard scamper. Smith hit Rosenbaum in almost identical fashion to their earlier connection to put the Thunder in a early 20-0 hole.
Jeremy Simms marked his return to action with a juggled 29 yard touchdown grab with Olney converting at a canter to make the score 28-0. It wasn’t all plain sailing for the Jets, their second blown snap of the half handed Sussex possession on the Coventry 13 with time for two plays before the break, however, Thunder quarterback Eber Kington could only find Jets’ safety Wayne Gumbs in the endzone for a third pick.
After the break both clubs engaged in a stalemate with neither offence able to gain any ground. As the fourth quarter arrived, the scoring commenced once more, Smith hit Courtney Pope for a seven yard touchdown to extend the Jets’ advantage to 34. Another turnover, Sussex’s fifth, landed them in trouble again as this time it was Mark Cohen’s turn to score, consistently beating his coverage, Cohen wriggled free to find the endzone on Smith’s 36 yard strike. Whilst there was no further scoring Coventry’s defence did come up with one more turnover, Andy McKenzie recovered a fumble to set a season high of six for the rapidly improving unit.
Next Sunday sees the Jets host the Farnham Fast Lane Knights as they look to secure home field advantage for their semi-final tussle with the Bristol Aztecs. When the two teams met back in June Coventry edged a thriller 24-21 but will be hoping for a more straightforward result on home turf. The match is scheduled for a 14:30 kick off at Coventry’s Sphinx FC and will be preceded by the Jets Junior team playing a double header versus the Chorley Buccaneers. Entrance is free for under 16s, £3 for adults.
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Interested in Finding out More about American Football in Lanarkshire – read on…
If you’ve watched it on the TV and fancy having a go then Lanarkshire’s Clyde Valley teams are looking for more players. Experienced or not, it does not matter – what does matter is a commitment to get stuck in and have a go! The teams who practice in Wishaw have players coming not just from Lanarkshire, but from as far away as Falkirk and even Cumbria.
From ages 14 – 40 (and plus!!) the Clyde Valley American Football team is looking to recruit new players. Anyone in the area wishing to play should contact Colin Macmillan on 07787 785262 for more information.
Efforts are currently being made to start a new team which is currently in training in Bournemouth. The south coast town used to be a hot bed for gridiron with at one stage 4 adult kitted sides competing (in 1990) within a 10 mile radius. The group have a website www.bobcats.org.uk and you can contact them via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via their Facebook page
GB Lions 7-21 France, Doncaster, 14th Nov
Poland 2-42 GB Jnr Lions
BAFL have released their divisional alignments and fixtures for the 2009 season. Gateshead, East Kilbride and Birmingham have dropped into Division 1, with Sussex Thunder being promoted to the Premier. BAFL 1 has expanded to 19 teams from 12 in 2008, and BAFL2 sees 4 new sides competing in 2009 - Highland Wildcats, Clyde Valley Blackhawks, London Olympians and the Gloucester Banshees.
BAFL Youth has also expanded from 17 teams in 2008 to 23 teams in 2009.
Click on the link below to go to their site to see them